William C. Turrel Ancestry Search

By Nancy Tyrrel Theodore, April 2010

This article is written to support the ancestry assigned to William C. Turrell in "Bible Record for William C.6 Turrel" on this site, i.e., William C.6, Caleb5-4, Daniel3-2, Roger1.

The first U. S. Census reference for Willilam C. Turrel of New Millford, CT, who removed to Pennsylvania is:

1810 United States Federal Census, Bridgewater, Luzerne co., PA (Ancestry image #5):
Turrell, Wm. C. 3m under 10; 1m 10 thru 15; 2m 16 thru 25; 1m 26 thru 44;
1f under 10; 1f under 10; 2f 26 thru 44

Susquehanna and Luzerne counties were once a part of Connecticut along with several other northeastern Pennsylvania counties. Susquehanna county was created from Luzerne County 21 February 1810. So the next record for William is for Bridgewater in Susquehanna county.

1820 United States Federal Census, Bridgewater, Susquehanna co., PA (Ancestry image #1):
Turrel, William C. 1m to 10; 1m 10 to 16; 1m 16 to 18; 2m 16 to 26; 1m 26 to 45; 1m 45 & up
1f to 10; 1f 10 to 16; 1f 16 to 26; 1f 26 to 45
Turrel, David 3m to 10; 1m 10 to 16; 1m 26 to 45
1f to 10; 1f 16 to 26; 1f26 to 45

In 1820, the eldest male in William's household is age 45 and up... so this could either be William and a mistake was made with his age, or William's or his wife's father. In David's household the eldest male is 26 to 45, and since William C.'s son would have been only about 17 (b. 1803), the second entry is William's brother as you'll see from the following.

Blackman's History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvaniaa, page 363: "William C. Turrell's farm adjoined that of M. Smith on one side, and of Asa Olmstead on the other. He was here some time prior to 1810.

"Col. Turrell's log-house was on that part of his farm now owned by Dr. N. P. Cornwell, on the same side of the road as the house of the latter but west of it, on the flat. The place was known by the name of 'Turrell's Flat.'

In 1811 he was chosen Lt.-Col. of the 129th Regiment Pennsylvania militia, and was always an active and influential man in the township. About thirty years ago he went West, and died there some time afterwards. His brother David's farm adjoined that of Lyman Cook, which was next to William C. Turrell's on the east, near Fairdale. He also went West, and died in Michigan, in 1849, aged 66. Another brother with the christian name of Doctor, made an improvement early, where William Robertson now lives, on Dutch Hill."

William's C.'s wife, Esther, is identified in the "Genealogy of the Olmsted Family in America" which says that Esther Olmsted was b. 30 Jun 1783 (notice that deviates a year from the Bible record) and m. William C. Turrell. Her father is David Olmsted of Susquehanna, PA, d. 29 Nov 1829, who moved to Bridgewater in 1802. Esther has a brother Asa.

Blackman's History of Susquehannaa says of the Olmsteads, page 361: "David Olmstead was [here] in as early as 1802. He was born in Norwalk, Connecticut; was a soldier of the Revolution, in the northern campaign under Gen. Gates, also with Washington in his retreat from New York, and at Ticonderoga. One of the marked features of his character was a devoted attachment to the faith of the Protestant Episcopal church. He died in Jessup (then Bridgewater) November 29th, 1829."

So, it appears there was a family group that moved to Bridgewater in what would become Susquehanna county, PA. The death records for Susquehanna County, PA, abstracted from Pennsylvania newspapersb, shows Caleb Turrell, age 91, Rev. War, d. Bridgewater 26 Jan 1827. So, it appears likely that Caleb was the male 45 & up in William C.'s household on the 1820 census, and is the father of William C. and David. To support this we turn to known family history.

In TAGc on page 51 is: Caleb5, b. at New Milford 10 Nov. 1742; m. at New Milford 27 Jan 1768, Eunice Cogswell. This is undoubtedly the Caleb who d. in Bridgewater in 1827, and the likely candidate to be William C. and David's father. Further, Caleb had a brother named "Doctor" who died in 1790 at age 22, so it is likely Caleb's son, William C. and David's brother, was named for father Caleb's brother Doctor. While there is a discrepancy in when Caleb was born between his death notice.... Age 91 in 1827 (1736) and the TAG birthdate of 1742.... it was not uncommon for survivors not to know the exact age for the deceased in those frontier days when education was hit and miss. Further, there were no other known Calebs in New Milford in 1779 when William C. was born.

Based on this reasonable scenario, William C. Turrel descends from Roger1 thus: William C.6, Caleb5-4, Daniel3-2, Roger1 Terrill of Milford, CT. Further, it is plausible that the 'O' in David O.'s name stands for Olmsted, which may reflect a family trend to use the mother's maiden name as a middle name. Thus the 'C' in William C.'s name could stand for Cogswell, or even Caleb, either of which would strengthen the connection to Caleb.

It seems the Bible record was made by William's daughter, Catharine, who m. Benjamin Hickox. They can be found on the 1860 census at Newbury, Geauga co., OH (Ancestry image #15). Benjamin is age 62, b. CT, a farmer and physician. Catherine is age 50 (1810) b. PA and their four children were all born in Ohio; Rosanna age 23, William age 21, Joel M. age 15 and Mary M. age 13.

Catharine is on the 1880 census (age 70, b. PA, father b. CT, mother b. CT) wife of Benjamin Hickox, retired physician, in Akron, Summit co., OH., (Ancestry image #37).

a History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, by Emily C. Blackman, Philadelphia 1873.

b Marriage Records and Death Records 1816-1849 copied from the Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania Newspapers, by Jeanne E. S. Harrington, 1922.

c TAG or The American Genealogist, Volume 25, "The Terrill Family of Connecticut" by Donald Lines Jacobus, pp. 37-54.